The Evolution of Scooters

In the summer of 2000, the kick scooter craze captured America. Young kids could be seen everywhere scooting around on 6-pound Razor scooters with small inline-skate wheels. While the small kids-type scooters were overtaking America, a new revolution was beginning to take hold in Europe, with adult bicycle-scooter hybrids.

New scooters that look like bicycles, with 26-inch tires and hand brakes are blurring the line between bicycles and scooters. The main benefit of the new bicycle-scooter hybrid is two-fold. Scooter enthusiasts can now negotiate bumps and potholes, and go wherever regular bikes can go. Bike riders can now free themselves from seat pain, and travel in a more upright position that is easier on the back.

Looking like bicycles without seats, or scooters with really big wheels, it's hard to decide whether a bicycle-scooter is a scooter or a bike, and people refer to them by either name. They offer a good mix of impact for fitness training, with more impact than cycling and less impact than running. With a low center of gravity and open architecture, they offer more freedom of movement than conventional bikes and relief from back and seat pain. In the bicycle market, some would-be recumbent buyers and other comfort conscious riders are taking a close look at the new bicycle-scooter models.

The riding motion on a bicycle-scooter is similar to cross-country skiing. It utilizes large muscle groups and is easier on the body than running. The supporting leg uses the anterior thigh muscles, while the kicking leg uses the posterior thigh and calf muscles. The scooting motion also works the hips, buttocks and lower back.

During an organized European race, a German team rode 342 miles in 24 hours, setting a new world's record for scooter speed and distance. Another team road 970 miles through the Ural Mountains in Russia in just 10 days on snow and gravel-covered roads. While most riders don't aspire to such lofty goals, the bicycle-type scooters are very durable and have proven themselves under tough riding conditions.

For everyday trips around the neighborhood, most people cruise at 9 to 12 miles per hour. On the downhills, the bicycle-scooters go as fast as regular bikes. Some riders install a bike computer to track their mileage and speed. Bicycle-scooters are transportation made simple. There's no chain or oil to get you dirty, and no derailleur to adjust. They're easy to get on and off, and you can share a scooter with family members since there's no seat height to adjust.

As the distinction between scooters and bicycles blurs with the introduction of new models, more and more people are rediscovering the joy of human-powered transportation. We're sure to see more of these new machines on the road. The ultimate question may be whether people will call them scooters or bicycles, or something totally different. Bicycle-scooter enthusiasts are used to hearing people say, "What's that?" or better yet, "Cool, where can I get one of those?" offers a full line of bicycle-scooter models, including a road bike, a hybrid bike, a mountain bike, a BMX bike, a folding model, and bikes for pre-schoolers, young kids, and young adults.